A church in Ireland has come up with an inventive idea to help all those who do not have time to receive the traditional Ash Wednesday blessing.

The St Patrick's Church, in Glenamaddy, County Galway, has set up a 'drive-thru' service for parishioners who can pull up in their cars to receive instant blessings if they do not have the time to attend a full mass service.

The church will also place a Lenten petition box - where Catholics submit their prayer requests - on the approach to the church, which conveniently goes right up to the church's door.

The blessing involves getting a cross made of ash placed on their forehead. Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent, is one of the most important dates in the Catholic calendar.

The idea for the 'drive-thru' was submitted last month. Father Paddy Mooney told the Irish catholic newspaper: "It's about meeting people where they are.

"We looked at the situation on the ground, people and families are on the move all the time."